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Birch basics

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Baltic blurs the birch lines
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Choose Baltic birch for precision
jigs and shop fixtures. Choose
birch hardwood plywood for
cabinetry and furniture projects.

Baltic blurs the birch lines

In modern woodworking circles, birch's standing has seen a boost from the good reputation of Baltic birch plywood. Named after its region of origin (near the Baltic Sea) rather than any specific species of birch, the premium plywood is created from ultrathin, void-free birch layers. Sporting a nearly white, even tone, the plywood provides consistent quality and has become a mainstay in shop jigs, drawer boxes, and utility projects.

Don't confuse Baltic birch plywood with birch hardwood plywood. The domestic version, usually made from yellow birch, saw a popular resurgence in the 1920s when European varieties gained prominence through Scandinavian designers and their modernist designs. At about 60 percent of the cost of the premium Baltic birch plywood, it remains a low-cost favorite for cabinets.

As with other plywoods, a flood of Far-East imports has lowered the cost and quality of both of these plywoods. If possible, ask your hardwood retailer to steer you away from those. Can't find birch locally? Search for "birch" at


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